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The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014

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PART 1Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment

Citation and commencement

1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014 and shall come into operation on 2nd June 2014.

Interpretation

2.—(1) In these Regulations—

“claimant” means a person who claims a jobseeker’s allowance, except that in relation to a joint-claim couple(1) claiming a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance, it means either or both of the members of the couple;

“the Housing Benefit Regulations” means the Housing Benefit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(2);

“the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations” means the Housing Renewal Grants (Reduction of Grant) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004(3);

“the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations” means the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996(4);

“the Order” means the Jobseekers (Northern Ireland) Order 1995;

“working day” means any day except for a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971(5) in Northern Ireland.

(2) For the purpose of these Regulations where a written notice is given by sending it by post it is taken to have been received on the second working day after posting.

(3) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(6) shall apply to these Regulations as it applies to an Act of the Assembly.

Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment

3.—(1) The scheme described in the following paragraph is prescribed for the purposes of Article 19A(1) of the Order (schemes for assisting persons to obtain employment: “work for your benefit” schemes etc).

(2) Steps 2 Success is a scheme designed to assist claimants who are unemployed, to find and sustain employment by offering such support as the Steps 2 Success Provider considers reasonable and appropriate in the claimant’s circumstances for a period of 12 or 18 months. This support is subject to a Service Guarantee and may include work search support, provision of skills training and work experience placements.

Selection for participation in a Scheme

4.—(1) The Department or the Department for Employment and Learning may select a claimant for participation in a scheme described in regulation 3.

(2) The scheme in which the claimant is selected to participate is referred to in these Regulations as “the Scheme”.

Requirement to participate and notification

5.—(1) Subject to regulation 6, a claimant selected under regulation 4 is required to participate in the Scheme where the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning gives the claimant a notice in writing complying with paragraph (2).

(2) The notice must specify—

(a)that the claimant is required to participate in the Scheme;

(b)the day on which the claimant’s participation will start;

(c)details of what the claimant is required to do by way of participation in the Scheme;

(d)that the requirement to participate in the Scheme will continue until the claimant is given notice by the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning that the claimant’s participation is no longer required, or the claimant’s award of jobseeker’s allowance terminates, whichever is earlier; and

(e)information about the consequences of failing to participate in the Scheme.

(3) Any changes made to the requirements mentioned in paragraph (2)(c) after the date on which the claimant’s participation starts must be notified to the claimant in writing.

Circumstances in which requirement to participate in the Scheme is suspended or ceases to apply

6.—(1) Paragraph (2) applies where a claimant is—

(a)subject to a requirement to participate in the Scheme; and

(b)while the claimant is subject to such a requirement, the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations apply so that the claimant is not required to meet the jobseeking conditions(7).

(2) Where this paragraph applies the claimant’s requirement to participate in the Scheme is suspended for the period during which the claimant is not required to meet the jobseeking conditions.

(3) A requirement to participate in the Scheme ceases to apply to a claimant if—

(a)the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning gives the claimant notice in writing that the claimant is no longer required to participate in the Scheme; or

(b)the claimant’s award of jobseeker’s allowance terminates,

whichever is earlier.

(4) If the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning gives the claimant a notice in writing under paragraph (3)(a), the requirement to participate in the Scheme ceases to apply on the day specified in the notice.

Exemptions from requirement to meet the jobseeking conditions

7.—(1) A claimant who is participating in the Scheme is not required to meet the conditions set out in Article 3(2)(a) and (c) of the Order (conditions for entitlement to a jobseeker’s allowance: available for and actively seeking employment) if the claimant is a full-time student.

(2) In this regulation “full-time student” has the same meaning as in regulation 1(2) of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations.

PART 2Sanctions

Failure to participate in the Scheme

8.  A claimant who fails to comply with any requirement notified under regulation 5 is to be regarded as having failed to participate in the Scheme.

Good cause

9.—(1) A claimant who fails to participate in the Scheme must show good cause for that failure within 5 working days of the date on which the Department notifies the claimant of the failure.

(2) The Department must determine whether the claimant has failed to participate in the Scheme and, if so, whether the claimant has shown good cause for the failure.

(3) In deciding whether the claimant has shown good cause for the failure, the Department must take account of all the circumstances of the case, including in particular the claimant’s physical or mental health or condition.

Consequences of failure to participate in the Scheme

10.—(1) Where the Department determines that a claimant has failed to participate in the Scheme, and the claimant has not shown good cause for the failure in accordance with regulation 9, the appropriate consequence for the purpose of Article 19A of the Order is as follows.

(2) In the case of a jobseeker’s allowance other than a joint-claim allowance, the appropriate consequence is that the claimant’s allowance is not payable for the period specified in paragraphs (4) to (7) (“the specified period”).

(3) In the case of joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance, the appropriate consequence is that the claimant is to be treated as subject to sanctions for the purposes of Article 22A of the Order (denial or reduction of a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance) for the specified period.

(4) The period is 2 weeks in a case which does not fall within paragraph (5), (6) or (7).

(5) The period is 4 weeks where—

(a)on a previous occasion the Department determined that the claimant’s jobseeker’s allowance was not payable or was payable at a lower rate because the claimant failed without good cause to participate in the Scheme (“the first determination”), and

(b)a subsequent determination is made no more than 12 months after the date on which the claimant’s jobseeker’s allowance was not payable or was payable at a lower rate following the first determination.

(6) Subject to paragraph (7), the period is 26 weeks where—

(a)on two or more previous occasions the Department determined that the claimant’s jobseeker’s allowance was not payable or was payable at a lower rate because the claimant failed without good cause to participate in the Scheme, and

(b)a subsequent determination is made no more than 12 months after the date on which the claimant’s jobseeker’s allowance was not payable or was payable at a lower rate following the most recent previous determination.

(7) Where paragraph (6) applies but the Department is satisfied that the claimant has re-complied in accordance with paragraph (8), the period is either—

(a)4 weeks, or

(b)4 weeks plus a period which ends with the last day of the benefit week in which the claimant re-complies,

whichever is longer.

(8) The claimant will be taken to have re-complied where, on the same day as or before or after the date on which the Department determines that the claimant has failed to participate in the Scheme, the claimant complies with—

(a)the requirement as to participation in the Scheme to which the determination relates, or

(b)such other requirement as to participation as may be made by the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning and notified to the claimant in accordance with regulation 5.

(9) The specified period begins—

(a)where, in accordance with regulation 26A(1) of the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987(8) (jobseeker’s allowance), the claimant’s jobseeker’s allowance is paid otherwise than fortnightly in arrears, on and including the day following the end of the last benefit week in respect of which that allowance was paid, and

(b)in any other case, on and including the first day of the benefit week following the date on which the claimant’s jobseeker’s allowance is determined not to be payable at a lower rate.

(10) Paragraphs (4) to (7) are subject to paragraph (11).

(11) Where the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning notifies the claimant during the specified period that the claimant is no longer required to participate in the Scheme, the specified period terminates at the end of—

(a)one week beginning with the date of the notice, or

(b)the benefit week in which the requirement to participate ceases to apply,

whichever is later.

(12) In this regulation “benefit week”(9) has the same meaning as in regulation 1(2) of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations.

PART 3Hardship

Hardship

11.—(1) The Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) In regulation 140 (meaning of “person in hardship”)—

(a)in paragraph (1)(f)(i)(10) before “Article 21” insert “a jobseeker’s allowance is not payable pursuant to regulations made under Article 19A of the Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.) or because”;

(b)in paragraph (2)(11) for “or (4B)” substitute “, (4B) or (4C)”; and

(c)after paragraph (4B)(12) insert—

(4C) In paragraph (2), a “person in hardship” does not include a claimant who is required at that time to participate in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014..

(3) In regulation 141(6)(13) (circumstances in which an income-based jobseeker’s allowance is payable to a person in hardship) before “Article 21” insert “regulations made under Article 19A of the Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.),”.

Hardship for joint-claim couples

12.—(1) The Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) In regulation 146A(14) (meaning of “couple in hardship”)—

(a)in paragraph (2)(15) for “or (5A)” substitute “, (5A) or (5B)”; and

(b)after paragraph (5A)(16) insert—

(5B) In paragraph (2), a “couple in hardship” does not include a joint-claim couple either or both of whom are at that time required to participate in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014..

(3) In regulation 146C(6)(17) (circumstances in which a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance is payable where a joint-claim couple is a couple in hardship) before “Article 22A(5)(a)” insert “regulations made under Article 19A of the Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.),”.

PART 4Consequential Amendments

Notional Income

13.—(1) This regulation applies to the following provisions (which relate to notional income)—

(a)regulation 105(10A)(18) of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations;

(b)regulation 32(10) of the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations; and

(c)regulation 39(7)(19) of the Housing Benefit Regulations.

(2) In each of the provisions to which this regulation applies after sub-paragraph (c) insert—

(ca)in respect of a claimant’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014;.

Notional Capital

14.—(1) This regulation applies to the following provisions (which relate to notional capital)—

(a)regulation 113(3A)(20) of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations;

(b)regulation 39(4) of the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations; and

(c)regulation 46(4)(21) of the Housing Benefit Regulations.

(2) In each of the provisions to which this regulation applies after sub-paragraph (b) insert—

(ba)in respect of a claimant’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014;.

Income to be disregarded

15.—(1) This regulation applies to the following provisions (which relate to sums to be disregarded in the calculation of income other than earnings)—

(a)Schedule 6 to the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations;

(b)Schedule 3 to the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations; and

(c)Schedule 6 to the Housing Benefit Regulations.

(2) In each of the provisions to which this regulation applies before paragraph 1 add—

A1.  Any payment made to the claimant in respect of any travel or other expenses incurred, or to be incurred, by him in respect of his participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014..

Capital to be disregarded

16.—(1) This regulation applies to the following provisions (which relate to capital to be disregarded)—

(a)Schedule 7 to the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations;

(b)Schedule 4 to the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations; and

(c)Schedule 7 to the Housing Benefit Regulations.

(2) In each of the provisions to which this regulation applies before paragraph 1 add—

A1.  Any payment made to the claimant in respect of any travel or other expenses incurred, or to be incurred, by him in respect of his participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014 but only for 52 weeks beginning with the date of receipt of the payment..

Consequential amendments relating to Sanctions

17.—(1) In regulation 8A(5) of the Social Security (Credits) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1975(22) (credits for unemployment) after sub-paragraph (b) insert—

(ba)a week in respect of which, because of regulations made under Article 19A of the Jobseekers Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.) a jobseeker’s allowance was not payable to the person concerned even though he satisfied the conditions for entitlement to that allowance; or.

(2) In regulation 3(g) of the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001(23) (circumstances in which discretionary housing payments may be made) after “Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996” add “or regulations made under Article 19A of that Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.)”.

(3) In regulation 5(3)(b) of the Social Security (Loss of Benefit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002(24) (meaning of “person in hardship”) for “Article 10” substitute “Articles 10, 19A” and before “circumstances” insert ““work for your benefit” schemes etc.;”.

(4) In regulation 2(3) of the Housing Benefit Regulations (interpretation)—

(a)in sub-paragraph (a)(25) after “Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations” add “or regulations made under Article 19A of that Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.)”; and

(b)in sub-paragraph (b)(26) after “Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations” add “or regulations made under Article 19A of that Order”.

(5) In regulation 2(3) of the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(27) (interpretation)—

(a)in sub-paragraph (a)(28) after “Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations” add “or regulations made under Article 19A of that Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.)”; and

(b)in sub-paragraph (b)(29) after “Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations” add “or regulations made under Article 19A of that Order”.

Amendment of the Income Support (General) Regulations

18.—(1) The Income Support (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987(30) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (5).

(2) In regulation 42(4ZA)(31) (notional income) after sub-paragraph (c) insert—

(ca)in respect of a person’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014; or.

(3) In regulation 51(3A)(32) (notional capital) after sub-paragraph (b) insert—

(ba)in respect of a person’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014; or.

(4) In Schedule 9 (sums to be disregarded in the calculation of income other than earnings) after paragraph 1 insert—

1A.  Any payment in respect of any travel or other expenses incurred, or to be incurred, by the claimant in respect of that claimant’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014..

(5) In Schedule 10 (capital to be disregarded) after paragraph 1 insert—

1A.  Any payment in respect of any travel or other expenses incurred, or to be incurred, by the claimant in respect of that claimant’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014, but only for 52 weeks beginning with the date of receipt of the payment..

Further amendment of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations

19.—(1) The Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (7).

(2) In regulation 25(1A)(33) (entitlement ceasing on a failure to comply) in the definition of “relevant notification” after “training scheme” add “or under a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014”.

(3) In regulation 47(4)(b)(ii)(34) (jobseeking period) before “Article 21” insert “regulations made under Article 19A of the Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.) or by virtue of”.

(4) In regulation 53 (persons treated as not engaged in renumerative work) after paragraph (k) (35) add—

(l)he is participating in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014..

(5) In regulation 55(1)(a)(36) (short periods of sickness) after “(circumstances in which an allowance is not to be payable)” add “or who failed without good cause to comply with regulations made under Article 19A of the Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.)”.

(6) In regulation 55A(1)(a)(37) (periods of sickness and persons receiving treatment outside Northern Ireland) after “(circumstances in which an allowance is not to be payable)” add “or who failed without good cause to comply with regulations made under Article 19A of the Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.)”.

(7) In regulation 152(1)(c)(38) (relevant week) before “Article 21” insert “regulations made under Article 19A of the Order (“work for your benefit” schemes etc.) or in accordance with”.

Amendment of the Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations

20.—(1) The Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999(39) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (4).

(2) In regulation 3(6)(40) (revision of decisions) after “Jobseekers Order” insert “or with regulations made under Article 19A of that Order”.

(3) In regulation 6(2) (supersession of decisions) after sub-paragraph (f)(41) insert—

(fa)is a decision that a jobseeker’s allowance is payable to a claimant where that allowance ceases to be payable or is reduced by virtue of regulations made under Article 19A of the Jobseekers Order;.

(4) In regulation 7 (date from which a decision superseded under Article 11 takes effect) after paragraph (8)(42) insert—

(8ZA) A decision to which regulation 6(2)(fa) applies shall take effect on the day specified in regulation 10(9)(a) or (b) of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014..

Amendment of the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations

21.—(1) The Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008(43) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (5).

(2) In regulation 107(5) (notional income – income due to be paid or income paid to or in respect of a third party) after sub-paragraph (c) insert—

(ca)in respect of a person’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014; or.

(3) In regulation 115(5) (notional capital) after sub-paragraph (b) insert—

(ba)in respect of a person’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014; or.

(4) In Schedule 8 (sums to be disregarded in the calculation of income other than earnings) after paragraph 1 insert—

1A.  Any payment in respect of any travel or other expenses incurred, or to be incurred, by the claimant in respect of that claimant’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014..

(5) In Schedule 9 (capital to be disregarded) after paragraph 1 insert—

1A.  Any payment in respect of any travel or other expenses incurred, or to be incurred, by the claimant in respect of that claimant’s participation in a scheme prescribed in regulation 3 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Schemes for Assisting Persons to Obtain Employment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014, but only for 52 weeks beginning with the date of receipt of the payment..

PART 5Contracting Out

Contracting out certain functions in relation to the Scheme

22.—(1) Any function of the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning specified in paragraph (2) may be exercised by, or by employees of, such person (if any) as may be authorised by the Department or the Department for Employment and Learning.

(2) The functions are any function under—

(a)regulation 5 (requirement to participate and notification);

(b)regulation 6(3)(a) (notice that requirement to participate ceases); and

(c)regulation 10(8)(b) and (11) (requirements and notices after failures).

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department for Social Development on 30th May 2014

(L.S.)

Anne McCleary

A senior officer of the Department for Social Development

The Department of Finance and Personnel hereby consents to the foregoing regulations.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Finance and Personnel on 30th May 2014

(L.S.)

Joanne McBurney

A senior officer of the Department of Finance and Personnel

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